I was hit hard with the desire to buy some manga one night after a day spent in Shinjuku. Roy and I stumbled into a Kinokuniya and I wandered aimlessly around, not sure what I was in the mood for. I’m oblivious to current popular titles but wanted to brush up on what the cool kids are reading.
Tucked away in the back corner, Wakako-zake caught my eye. It featured a young woman in her mid-twenties eating and drinking alcohol by herself. The artwork implied that didn’t take itself too seriously. I was sold.
Wakako is the protagonist – the “zake” part of the series title just means alcohol (saké doesn’t necessarily always mean Japanese saké, it’s also a term used just for alcohol in general). The chapters are short and self-contained, each revolving around a different food paired with a different alcohol. You can feel the height of Wakako’s satisfaction with her signature sigh “pushuu”.
Though the premise is quite simple, I can’t help but wonder about Wakako’s personal life, as she truly treasures her time spent eating and drinking alone–despite having a boyfriend (who never makes an appearance in the first two volumes that I’ve read). I’m not saying they always need to eat together, but the point being made seems intentional. (She ain’t need no man.)
Wakako’s anti-socialness resonates with me as a fellow hermit. She turns down invites from friends in favor of eating and drinking by herself. She relishes time spent alone, and in the rare event that Wakako is with her group of friends, it’s clear that her thoughts are continuously centered on her next meal and drink.
According to the website, the author had this to say about the anime adaptation:
Regarding the anime: as a kid I remember whenever there was an eating scene in old Japanese folk tales or famous plays, I would say “I wanna eat that!” and was a major pain to the adults around me.
May this show be a pain to all the adults who watch it…(laughs)
You can read the first installment of the Wakako-zake manga on Pixiv. Otherwise, you’ll have to hang tight until the anime airs later this summer.